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Jakarta Post

Controlling plastic waste through collaboration and innovation

  • Inforial

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta, Indonesia   /   Tue, December 10, 2019   /   11:06 am
Controlling plastic waste through collaboration and innovation Innovations: Asia Pulp and Paper Sinar Mas chief sustainability officer Elim Sritaba speaks about the role of environmentally friendly packaging materials in reducing plastic waste during the ongoing United Nations Climate Change Conference in Madrid, Spain. (Courtesy of APP Sinar Mas/.)

Single-use plastic waste threatens the ecosystem and hinders efforts to control climate change.

Innovations among private business players are vital to respond to the ever-changing landscape of the plastic waste issue, according to Nani Hendiarti, the Office of Maritime Affairs and Investment Coordinating Minister’s deputy assistant on science and technology applications.

She explained that recently about 80 percent of all plastic waste found in the ocean came from the land. She echoed many experts’ concerns that besides destroying the ecosystem, plastic waste also threatened human health as it polluted our marine resources.

She discussed the plastic waste issue in the Indonesian Pavilion at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Madrid, Spain.

Multistakeholder affair: Answering questions from the audience during their panel discussion at the ongoing United Nations Climate Change Conference in Madrid, Spain, are (from left) Environment and Forestry Ministry environment and forestry standardization head Noer Adi Wardojo, Asia Pulp and Paper Sinar Mas chief sustainability officer Elim Sritaba and the Office of the Maritime Affairs and Investment Coordinating Minister’s deputy assistant on science and technology application, Nani Hendiarti. Multistakeholder affair: Answering questions from the audience during their panel discussion at the ongoing United Nations Climate Change Conference in Madrid, Spain, are (from left) Environment and Forestry Ministry environment and forestry standardization head Noer Adi Wardojo, Asia Pulp and Paper Sinar Mas chief sustainability officer Elim Sritaba and the Office of the Maritime Affairs and Investment Coordinating Minister’s deputy assistant on science and technology application, Nani Hendiarti. (Courtesy of APP Sinar Mas/.)

The conference kicked off on Dec. 2 and will last until Dec. 13. According to its website, it is designed to take the next crucial steps in the UN climate change process to operationalize the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

Nani explored the issue along with the Environment and Forestry Ministry ecosystem standardization head Noer Adi Wardojo, Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) Sinar Mas chief sustainability officer Elim Sritaba and Indonesian Sustainable Development Solutions Network representative Jatna Supriatna.

According to Nani, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s policy has been strict enough to manage plastic waste efficiently. Presidential Regulation No. 83/2018 on ocean debris management strategies has been effective in reducing ocean debris by 11.2 percent, from 490,000 to 680,000 tons per annum.

Relying on government intervention alone, however, is not enough to control ocean debris. True to the summary of the discussion, collaboration among various stakeholders to coin new innovations for plastic waste management is essential.

Noer, meanwhile, reminded participants that the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) resolution announced during their event in March 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya, sought to make more alternatives to single-use plastic waste available to the public.

“Thus, we also expect new innovations in terms of organically dissolved plastic packages, which can reduce the use of single-use plastic by 10 percent,” he said.

Noer mentioned paper cups without plastic wrappings and packages made from cassava as the most recent innovations.

He added that the private sector also played an important role in managing single-use plastic waste, considering that policymakers often moved sluggishly in response to the real-life situation of the issue, giving stakeholders limited choices for taking action.

For instance, to mention some company initiatives, several corporations have already recycled plastic waste by turning it into asphalt.

Elim also discussed APP Sinar Mas’ 100 percent recyclable paper packaging, which the company manufactured using recycled paper, called FoopakBioNatura.

She explained that the biggest challenge faced by the company to develop FoopakBioNatura was to get rid of its plastic surface. Commonly, paper packages are wrapped with plastic to prevent water and oil absorption while protecting it from extreme temperatures.

“Thanks to the hard work of our team members, who have dedicated themselves to conducting various research studies over the last five years, we have successfully replaced the plastic surface of our paper packages with a water-based surface. We solidify the liquid element by heating it.”

APP Sinar Mas also manufactured FoopakBioNatura using the produce of its sustainably managed Industrial Plant Forest. The paper packaging is 100 percent naturally dissolvable within 12 weeks. It is also recyclable given that it is clean of any food waste.

“The government’s role is to regulate and inform people, while companies and consumers should work together to reduce plastic waste. Hopefully, these innovations could make the dream of a circular economy come true, as has been shown by APP Sinar Mas through its FoopakBioNatura product,” Jatna said.